>page 89


This is to say I received the book you sent my way. I’m on page 107, noticed that page 89 arrived with an earmark. I was tempted to go back and earmark page 46 in which Manhattan was described as succeeding early on as a great harbor, but failing at first as a city.
 I didn’t read the book for two days after reading that passage because I spent time thinking about when and where this has been true in my life. What makes for a good harbor in people? What makes for a good city? I notice when I think about this, it’s the harbor qualities that beckon me, turn my head. There’ll be more on that later, probably when I get out my tugboat book. Right now, both books are secured in a locked room–no way can the pups do to these books what they did to an earlier book.
Sugar on a rope showed up in the early pages of this book. Not only were clotheslines used between buildings to dry laundry, but these lines were also to exchange cups of sugar. Imagine! Sugar on a rope. Sidewalks weren’t the only means for getting from one point to another. The rooftops were commonly used, but I suppose everyone but me knew that already. (Remember I grew up without rooftops, miles and miles from the nearest town . . .)
The sense of community has been impossible to escape while reading this book about the later 1800s and early 1900s of NYC. The book documents a spirit on the streets, a prevailing sense of doing whatever must be done. I didn’t expect to find such prairie pioneer spirit in Manhattan’s streets. I found myself realizing my maternal grandmother might have come from here, had she not grown up on a homestead in Eastern Montana.
My grandmother taught us not to complain. An early poem of mine was published in Touch: The Journal of Healing, explaining the way she moved through life. I’m not sure about how many fish were caught back in the days in NYC, but I know for sure more fish was caught there than we had sugar on any rope back west of there.
Mercy Tin
She stored her mercy
in an old bandage tin.

The hinged lid, with sliding clasp,
groaned each time it was needed.
There were patches for faith, rolled
gauze for trust and tubes of forgiveness

It hung by her kitchen stove
next to the match dispenser
below the ‘kwitcherbellyachin’ motto
Gramma-great burned into a left-over
slice of barn door.

She filled it with sunrise blush
and that center skip in hopscotch,
sprinkled in a somersault’s pause
and the tug from a six-pound trout line.

Whatever you take out, you put back in
was the rule she taught her children.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

8 responses to “>page 89

  1. >Oh, how nice – a picture to go with that poem. The harbors and city qualities in people – interesting concepts. We all long for a sense of community. If not on our streets or towns, in books and blogs.

  2. >Not complaining is important in life, indeed.Thanks for reading my blog and for your kind words. I'll be following yours too and I just linked it on my page

  3. >Your poem reminds me of great grandmas in my life as well. What a though provoking verse…I would love to post it on my blog with some of my old tins…full credit will be given to you as well as a link to your blog…let me know if thats alright. Cheers..k

  4. >Well, now I'm wondering what was on page 89, or whether it was just a "harbor" in the passage through. I'm sure you'll find a few dog-eared pages in there. Hope it provides some inspiration. Woof!

  5. >I love the word verification prompts. The last one was "mootersh."

  6. >kass- i like the notion of safe harbor, and how a harbor facilitates exchanges of goods and means for each of us to live. lately i've been fascinated with tugboats (see posts about a month ago) and how tug boats facilitate all of us and yet are undercover and do not live the life of glory.regarding communities- yes, books and blogs (!)nicolette- good to hear from you and i hope others check out your blog. i enjoy the way you pinpoint something fine and wide.kerry- yes you can post the mercy tin poem in your blog. since it was first published in the journal: Touch, The Journal of Healing, would you make note of that in the blog? i'm honored that you want to share the poem with your tins. i entirely relate. something about those olden eras intrigue both of us.m- oh yeah, i bet it was a harbor in the passage through. to some clearing or perhaps an alleyway . . .? the pups want to send your new pup one of their favorite toys. would you be opposed to a fuchsia platypus?your mootersh would pair up well with my humese. in fact, since being gifted with "humese" by the word verification department, i've been feeling quite a bit at peace.

  7. >Now what kind of killjoy would oppose a fuchsia platypus? "burst" (verification word)

  8. >i didn't think killjoy was in your vocab. now what about optionment? and are you keeping track of these for your next poem?

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